For the entire past week, something has been nagging at me. I knew that there was something that I needed to do but I couldn’t remember what it was. Earlier today, however, I was reading the latest critical blathering about the state of cinema over at AwardsDaily. As usual, that site’s editors were whining about the fact that the Social Network didn’t win best picture and also the fact that my generation is apparently the “WORST. GENERATION. EVER” and blah blah blah.
Fortunately, however, reading that post reminded me of what I had forgotten: We are now at the halfway mark as far as 2012 is concerned. This is the time of year that self-important film critics (both online and elsewhere) tell their readers what type of year it’s been so far.
So, without further ado — what type of year has 2012 been so far?
(By the way, you can also check out my thoughts from July of 2011 and July 2010 as well.)
(Also, please understand that the act of me posting this in no way guarantees that I won’t change my mind several times within the next hour.)
Best Film Of The Year (So Far): Cabin In The Woods. Compared to both 2010 and 2011, this has been a pretty slow year so far. There really hasn’t been a Hanna or an Exit Through The Gift Shop type of film so far. Instead, there’s been a handful of nice surprises, quite a few pleasant but somewhat forgettable films, and then quite a few films that i wish were forgettable. Cabin In The Woods, however, was a nice little valentine to horror fans like me and it’s a film that actually gets even better with repeat viewings. Runners up include Bernie, Damsels in Distress, Brave, The Hunger Games, Safety Not Guaranteed, Moonrise Kingdom, For Greater Glory, Jeff, Who Lives At Home, and the Avengers.
Best Male Performance Of The Year (So Far): Jack Black in Bernie. Runners up include Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man and Jason Segal in Jeff, Who Lives At Home.
Best Female Performance of the Year (So Far): Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games. Seriously, just try to imagine that film with someone else in the lead role. Runners up include Susan Sarandon in Jeff, Who Lives At Home, Aubrey Plaza in Safety Not Guaranteed, and Greta Gerwig in Damsels in Distress.
Best Voice-Over Performance Of The Year (So Far): Kelly MacDonald in Brave.
Best Ending Of The Year (So Far): A 3-way tie between The Cabin In The Woods, Safety Not Guaranteed, and Jeff, Who Lives At Home.
Best Horror Film Of The Year (So Far): The Cabin In The Woods
Most Underrated Film Of The Year (So Far): The Five-Year Engagement, a sweet and funny movie that was just a tad bit too long.
Best Bad Film of the Year: Battleship. Yes, the movie represented some of the worst impulses of big-budget filmmaking but I had a lot of fun watching it and Alexander Skarsgard was to die for in that white Navy uniform.
Worst Film Of The Year (So Far): The Wicker Tree. I could make an argument for both Rock of Ages and The Devil Inside here but no…just no. As the Trash Film Guru put it, “BURN THE WICKER TREE!”
Biggest Example Of A Missed Opportunity For This Year (So Far): Seeking a Friend For The End of the World. A great performance from Steve Carrel can’t save a film that has no idea what it wants to be.
The Get Over It Already Award For The First Half of 2012: The Devil Inside, for being the most tedious example of a “found footage” horror film yet. Coming in second: Rock of Ages, for reminding me that my parents had terrible taste in music.
The Trailer That Has Most Outgrown Its Welcome: The Perks of Being a Wall Flower. “Be aggressive…passive aggressive…” Okay, shut up, already.
The Cameron/Fincher Bandwagon Trophy (Awarded To The Upcoming Film That, Regardless Of Quality, Will Probably Be So Violently Embraced By People Online That You’ll Be Putting Your Life In Danger If You Dare Offer Up The Slightest Amount Of Criticism): The Dark Knight Rises
The Ebert Award (Awarded to the upcoming film that will probably get positive reviews based on the film’s political context as opposed to the film itself): Zero Dark Thirty
The Sasha Award (Awarded To The Film That I Am Predicting Will Be The Most Overrated Of The Year): Lincoln.
The Roland Emmerich/Rod Lurie Award For The Film That I’m Predicting Will Be The Worst Of 2012: Honestly, it’s really hard to imagine a worse film than The Wicker Tree (though, to be honest, Rock of Ages comes pretty close).
Films I’m Looking Forward To Seeing In The Future (An incomplete list): On The Road, Lawless, The Dark Knight Rises, Cosmopolis, Django Unchained, The Hobbit, The Great Gatsby, and especially The Master and Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina.
And there you have it. 2012 hasn’t been a great year so far but there’s still a lot of time left.
Unless, of course, the Mayans were correct.
Few motion pictures released by Hollywood these days have ideas that excite me enough to put down cash money at the box office. As for the selection of films that play at foreign language film festivals, they often arrive too late to be included in such “best of” lists (i.e. a lot of the festival movies that arrive in Australia in the first half of 2012 are dated 2011 and earlier).
If you think that your parents had terrible taste in music, Lisa Marie, then what must you think of the current noise polluting mainstream radio? I must remind you, Lisa Marie, that without having seen the film for myself, I can tell you (from looking at the soundtrack listing) that “Rock of Ages” is hardly reflective of the best mainstream music from the 1980s. If you want 1980s authenticity, if you want music that is dance-worthy (as opposed to the headbanger anthems employed in “Rock of Ages”) then check out films such as “Breakdance” and “Xanadu”.
Kids these days may smirk at those movies, all the while celebrating films such as “Rock of Ages”, but the joke is on them. I’d rather be a fan of movies that were actually made in the 1980s, featuring the very best of 1980s popular music, as opposed to these pale imitations of a bygone decade. Remember, they also tried to remake “Fame”–and look at how quickly the remake has been forgotten.
Finally, I don’t know who was in charge of the film’s wardrobe, but Tom Cruise looks positively nothing like a 1980s rock star–his is more of a 2000s look (how COULD they miss by 20 years?). Dear Hollywoodland, the next time you attempt one of these things, gimme a call–okay?
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